Chief Secretary denies charges against him

The rift between Chief Secretary E.K. Bharat Bhushan and junior IAS officers has widened with the IAS Association not coming forward for mediation as suggested by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, and the Chief Secretary refuting the allegations against him.

The association is seeking a direct audience with the Chief Minister.

The controversy began with Mr. Bhushan allegedly rejecting the confidential report of IAS officer K. Suresh Kumar, noting that the former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan was the proper authority to write the report.

Later, he was accused of having added negative remarks to the confidential reports of Labour Secretary Tom Jose and Printing and Stationary Secretary Raju Narayanaswamy.

Mr. Narayanaswamy made a complaint against the Chief Secretary to the IAS association alleging that the Chief Secretary was being vindictive. Following leakage of the complaint to the media, the Cabinet asked Additional Chief Secretary K.M. Abraham to inquire into the conduct of Mr. Narayanaswamy in the matter.

This exasperated the association, which maintains that the IAS officer had a right to complain to it.

On Friday, Mr. Bharat Bhushan said in a press release that the allegation that he had manipulated the annual confidential reports of the two IAS officers was baseless. Though the date for filing the documents had expired, the two officers had not filed the documents.

As to the accusation that he had sold property at a price Rs.70 lakh above the fair value, the Chief Secretary said the details of the sale of his property in Thiruvananthapuram, before he became the Chief Secretary, had been filed in his statement of immovable property return. He had purchased the land for Rs.1.10 lakh in 1987, and built a house on it at a cost of Rs.11 lakh in 1993. This was sold to the vice-president of the company NEST, Narayanan, in April 2013.

Though he had booked a flat in Greater Noida, it was not purchased as the flat had not been made available in time.

The plan to purchase the flat using sales proceeds of his family property (Rs.35.70 lakh) and a loan of Rs.10 lakh was mentioned in the return filed in 2008, but it was omitted from returns filed from January 5, 2012, as the ownership was not transferred in his favour.

Referring to the allegation that an airline was financing the studies of his daughter in the U.S., Mr. Bharat Bhushan said that she was receiving a scholarship of $39,000 for her studies at Mount Holyoke College. The balance of her expenditure would be financed by his son who was employed as a senior financial analyst with the multinational company Shell.

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